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What is Chronic Vomiting?

Vomiting refers to the stomach expelling its contents and is the body’s means of dispelling harmful substances including foreign objects and toxins. Acute vomiting is an occasional isolated incident of vomiting, often not serious and the result of eating something disagreeable, a diet change, eating too fast, etc. Chronic vomiting is ongoing vomiting (more than once in a day) and should be treated as an emergency as it can indicate a life threatening situation. Chronic vomiting can itself make conditions worse due to inadequate nutrition and dehydration if allowed to continue without treatment. An occasional bout of vomiting is common in dogs; however, persistent, chronic vomiting is usually indicative of an underlying disease. Chronic vomiting often leads to decreased absorption of nutrients and subsequent weight loss. Chronic vomiting is ongoing vomiting (more than once in a day) and should be treated as an emergency as it can indicate a life threatening situation.

Chronic Vomiting Average Cost

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Average Cost

$3,500

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Symptoms of Chronic Vomiting in Dogs

Symptoms of chronic vomiting include:

  • Heaving/Gagging
  • Vomiting more than once during a day
  • Producing partially digested food
  • Producing yellow fluid (bile)
  • Producing white foam
  • Producing mucus or watery substance
  • Producing blood or blood-tinged substance
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Causes of Chronic Vomiting in Dogs

Causes of chronic vomiting include:

  • Change in diet
  • Food sensitivity/intolerance
  • Garbage ingestion/bone ingestion
  • Toxin ingestion (heavy metal/pesticide/auto coolant/chocolate)
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Chronic cough
  • Motion sickness
  • Ingestion of a foreign object
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Severe constipation
  • Bacterial infection
  • Viral infection
  • Cancer
  • Enteritis/Colitis
  • Ulcer
  • Peritonitis
  • Pyometria (in intact females)
  • Diabetes
  • Vestibular disease
  • Septicemia
  • Addison’s disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Ketoacidosis
  • Bladder obstruction or rupture
  • Volvulus (bloat) or gastric dilatation
Types
  • Vomiting: Expelling contents of the stomach
  • Regurgitating: Expelling contents from the esophagus that have not yet reached the stomach
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Diagnosis of Chronic Vomiting in Dogs

If your pet has vomited once and is bright and alert and eating and going to the bathroom normally, the vomiting may be an isolated incident. However, keep an eye out for more vomiting, inability to keep food down, and abnormal or absent bowel movements for the next few days.

If your pet has continued to vomit you should take them to the veterinarian as it could be an indication of poisoning or other life threatening condition. Collect a sample of the vomit in a plastic bag or container if possible for the vet to examine. The veterinarian will take a history to determine if your pet has ingested garbage, a foreign object or toxic substance. She will want to know when the vomiting started, how frequently it has been occurring, and what the vomit looks like (does it contain food, yellow bile, mucous, foam, blood).

The veterinarian will perform a physical exam and palpate the abdomen to feel for any abdominal masses or other abnormalities. Depending on the pet’s history and physical exam, the following diagnostic tools may be employed to determine the cause of the vomiting and appropriate treatment.

  • Radiographs: X-ray can help visualize tumor, foreign body, or other abnormality.
  • Endoscopy/colonoscopy: Can help visualize tumor, foreign body, or other abnormality.
  • Bloodwork: Examines function of the liver, kidneys and other body systems.
  • Ultrasound: Aids in visualization of the intestines and stomach contents.
  • Fecal examination: Examines bowel contents and presence of intestinal parasites.
  • Exploratory surgery: When the cause of chronic vomiting cannot be resolved or when other diagnostics indicate a mass or foreign body, exploratory surgery may be necessary.
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Treatment of Chronic Vomiting in Dogs

Depending on the results of the diagnostics and extent and duration of the vomiting, the following treatments may be utilized to stop the vomiting and address the abnormality:

Bland Diet

The veterinarian may recommend feeding your pet a bland diet for a period of a few days. A bland diet consists of foods that are gentle on the digestive system while providing the necessary nutrients. It is low in fiber, fat and protein and high in carbohydrates, composed of a single lean protein source and a single carbohydrate. The most common bland diet consists of boiled white rice and boiled skinless chicken breast (no bones). Cottage cheese, egg whites and low-fat yogurt are also permitted. There are a number of commercial bland diets you can ask your veterinarian about.

The bland diet should be fed as long as your veterinarian recommends. Once the bland diet can be stopped, the regular diet should be introduced gradually over a 7 day period, adding a small amount of regular food to the bland diet a bit more each day until the pet is eating only regular food.

Medications
  • Anti-emetics – Prevent nausea and vomiting
  • Antibiotics – Treat infection
  • Corticosteroids – Treat inflammation
  • IV fluid therapy – Restores electrolytes and rehydrates
  • Subcutaneous fluid therapy – Restores electrolytes and rehydrates
  • Dewormer – Rids of intestinal parasites
Surgery

In the case of a foreign body, pyometria or tumor, surgery may be required to treat the condition. Foreign body and pyometria surgeries are often emergency situations and performed the same day of diagnosis. The pet will likely spend up to 72 hours in the hospital to be monitored for recovery as this is an invasive procedure. After surgery and hospitalization, when the pet is allowed to go home, they are supplied with medications for pain, antibiotics, and possible other medications. They will be given an Elizabethan collar (cone/e-collar) to prevent licking at the incision site. The pet will have staples or sutures removed in 2-3 weeks. In case of surgery, it is important the pet remain still, inside the house in a clean environment and inactive usually for a period of at least two weeks. Surgeries have good outlook and the pet often returns to normal activity levels within 1-3 months.

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Recovery of Chronic Vomiting in Dogs

If a pet has been vomiting or is nauseous, it may be necessary to provide food and water in small portions over an extended period of time rather than offer a full water bowl or full meal. This prevents the pet from choking or ingesting too much material at once on a sensitive stomach.

It is important to follow your treatment plan as indicated by the veterinarian. Dietary changes, medication management and/or surgery recovery guidelines will produce positive results if correctly applied. Monitor your pet carefully and be aware of any changes in eating and bowel movements. If vomiting continues, be sure to alert your veterinarian.

To prevent gastrointestinal problems that can be costly and difficult to manage in your pet, be sure to keep garbage, human food, chemicals and laundry items like socks, washcloths, and other small fabric items out of reach of your pet. Choose toys that are not easily destroyed and that will not be swallowed easily.

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Chronic Vomiting Average Cost

From 19 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,500

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Chronic Vomiting Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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old english

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1 yaer

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Throwing Up 4 2 Weeks Has Been To Vet Twice, They Cant Find Anything Wrong, I Am Afraid He Might Be Dying And Need To Know What To Do Nextd

Throwing up won't eat or drink

Dec. 8, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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0 Recommendations

I'm sorry to hear your dog is so unwell. Certainly, there sounds to be an underlying issue and we need to get to the bottom of things. Initially, we typically run some broad tests such as blood tests, a urine test, an abdominal xray and an abdominal scan. Without these, it can be hard to get a diagnosis. If these tests come back clear, we then need to consider more invasive tests in order to get an answer e.g. a stomach endoscopy (a camera into the stomach) and more specific blood tests. If your dog is unwell and we are unsure why, we need to run some more tests. If your vet is not offering these, seek a 2nd opinion and consider a specialist. I do hope you get your answer soon and we can start him on the necessary treatment.

Dec. 9, 2020

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Shih Tzu

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Dog takes allergy shots and flea care and heart disease pills. He vomits every week and a half at night for a couple of days. Then tired for days and doesn’t eat. Licks the air a lot now but does get up to vomit or when I take him out. Any idea what can cause this? I rescued him 6 months ago and always had a big belly. Little rounder now.

Sept. 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I do think that he needs to be seen by a veterinarian. There may be something going on with his GI tract or in his abdomen that is causing that vomiting and loss of appetite. It is possible that there may be a veterinarian that does house calls in your area, and you can try calling a Veterinary Clinic to ask if they know of anyone, that is a good place to start. They may also know of someone that could help you transport him back and forth if needed. I hope that everything goes well for him and you are able to get him care.

Sept. 30, 2020

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Bulldog mix

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7 months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomits Several Times A Day And Very Skinny Era

What do I need to do to stop the vomiting and help him gain weight

July 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

It is likely that your puppy has undetected parasites, or an intestinal problem. The best thing to do would be to make an appointment with a veterinarian, have them look at him, analyze a fecal sample for parasite eggs under the microscope, and treat if there is anything there. I hope that all goes well for him!

July 10, 2020

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Mandy

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Pit bull

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10 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Not Eating
Chronic Vomiting

We have a 10 year old Pit Bull that has stopped eating and has chronic vomiting. She will drink water but within a few minutes vomits it up. She's been doing this for almost 2 weeks. She previously had worms which was treated about 3 months ago and it seemed to work as she gained weight and looked and acted healthy. No change in diet or medications. She has a lump in her neck which feels like some kind of tumor. But has had that for years. She seems severally dehydrated and has lost weight. Other then vomiting she has no other symptoms. What could this be? Also is there anything we can do or give her to help with hydration?

Sept. 15, 2018

Mandy's Owner

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Leo

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Labrador Retriever

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9 Years

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Serious severity

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5 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Chronic Vomiting, Loss Of Appetite

My 9 year old lab, Leo, started throwing up once in a week or so in March. We got his blood test done and the Vet was treating him for the minor infection that showed up in his reports. A month passed by but he still threw up and the frequency started increasing to once in 3-4 days. That is when we changed our vet and he got a blood test done for Leo too. He also thought it is an intestinal infection which needs different antibiotic treatment and that is what we did. However, once the course was over, his vomiting would reappear. So we tried different medications a few times and then thought its probably some kinds of obstruction in his stomach.So we got a X-ray, sonography and yesterday we even did an endoscopy done. All the reports came out normal. His present condition is that he hasn't eaten anything in over a week now and throws up (even bile sometimes) a few times in a day. He just drinks water and is on saline through IV everyday since that past 10 days or so. I don't know what else can we do to detect what is wrong with him and when will he actually start eating. He is energetic for the most part of the day and is no pain at all. What do i do? I am really worried

May 16, 2018

Leo's Owner

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5 Recommendations

With a response to antibiotics, it does sound like an infection; a faecal culture may be useful to see if any bacteria show up which may be pathogenic and causing these vomiting episodes, a sensitivity test may also be done to look at suitable antibiotics. These cases are never straight forward and may require some trial and error to get right; if there is no success I would suggest visiting an Internal Medicine Specialist to get their input into this. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 17, 2018

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Scout

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Rat Terrier

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Normal
Night

I've had Scout since he was a puppy and never had changed his food. Back in September 2019 he started throwing up daily. Took him to my vet, gave him different medicines. Nothing worked. Did xrays, came back great. Did blood work, came back great. Stayed with the vet for a couple nights, did fine. Changed to a lighter dog food, started to do great wasn't puking as much. Now we watch him carefully and even bought him a slow eating dog food bowl. Now (November 2019) he's been puking every night. He's normal, playful, eating and drinking normal, excited, and going to the bathroom normal. I feel terrible for my baby I'm not for sure what to do.

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Holly

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Lab mix

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9 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting, Regurgitating

We adopted a lab mix 7 years ago and for as long as we remember she has had chronic vomiting and regurgitation. Sometimes it's recently eaten food, other times its either bile, clear, foamy, or bloody. She always eats Purina One Lamb & Rice and the occasional pizza crust. We can't find any patterns. I took her to the vet after a bloody vomit and was told that maybe she ingested something. This is chronic. She's is now 9 and I don't want to put her through unnecessary treatment, but it would be nice not to have to scrub rugs so often. Her bowel movements seem normal. She keeps to a constant weight. Any ideas?

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Sky

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Greyhound

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13 Years

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Fair severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My 13 year old greyhound has been vomiting yellow fluid for the last 6 weeks. He is losing weight. He will go 3 or 4 days being sick then will be absolutely fine. For a few days. He is at the start of kidney failure.

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Doofus

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English Bulldog

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Chronic Vomiting
White Liquid

Hey, I've had my dog Doofus since he was born and for as long as I can remember (after he matured) he has been throwing up a white/clear mucousy liquid. It happens while he is playing with a ball (he has to spit the ball out) and after he has eaten but it never seems to have any food in it or bile. When he is playing with a ball, he will spit the ball out and "gag" some and then maybe throw up or maybe not and keep on playing. Other than this, he is a healthy dog with all of his shots, has no problem using the bathroom, no aversion to foods, is not bloated, and is a healthy weight. I haven't felt any masses in his abdomen area nor does he cough any. It also does not seem that he is retching when this happens. It reminds me of a gag reflex but happens quite regularly. Should I be concerned?

Chronic Vomiting Average Cost

From 19 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,500

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